Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 30

FEATURE
Sandman would most likely cringe at these stories. He'd rather talk
about justice.
"It is the great invisible issue in our society," he says in an interview with
Washington Lawyer. "So many people in civil cases involving the fundamentals of life don't have a lawyer." Most Americans don't realize that civil
cases - domestic violence that requires a restraining order, landlord-
tenant disputes, child custody - are not guaranteed a court-appointed
lawyer, Sandman says.

NATURAL-BORN LEADER
Sandman's legal origins were conventional. The rail-thin, black coffeedrinking lawyer started his career as an associate with Arnold & Porter in
Washington, D.C. A few years into his work at the firm, he was asked to
move to Arnold & Porter's small Denver office.
That tiny office gave him the chance to
take on more responsibility than he would
have been given in a larger office. And
although the cases were smaller, "they
were my cases," he says. He also ran the
summer associate program, management
experience that led him to open Arnold
& Porter's Los Angeles office.
Eventually, he and his wife, Beth Mullin,
came back to D.C. Three years into his
return from the west coast, Sandman was
tapped to become managing partner at
the firm. "Jim is a natural-born leader," says
Horton. "The only people who don't like
Jim Sandman don't like anybody."

That kindness, says Sandman, was because he, too, was once the beneficiary of a similar gesture. He was new to Denver in 1982 and stranded in
town by a snowstorm. A partner invited him to dinner, which required
him to cross-country ski to get there. "What could have been a miserable
Christmas turned out to be one of my best. I was happy to pay it forward,"
Sandman adds.
Sandman also made a practice of learning the names of every summer
associate in every office, says Horton. One time, the firm's 80 summer
associates were brought to D.C. for a training event. According to Horton,
Sandman told them: "I will go around the room and greet every single
person by name." If he didn't remember their name, they would win
a flower arrangement or a case of beer as a prize.
"Nobody got flowers. Nobody got beer," says Horton. "I was so blown
away by this."
Another memorable moment was a speech Sandman gave to associates
about ethical behavior in taking depositions. "He had three points: always
comport yourself as if the judge is watching, be yourself, and most importantly, never be a jerk," says Horton. The hope was that the second and
third points would be consistent with each other.
If there was one overriding element in all of this, says Horton, it was
courtesy. He recalls a case in which the opposing lawyers filed a brief that

*

JUNE 2020

MOVING ON TO THE 'TOUGHEST JOB'
One other aspect of Sandman's legal work was his pro bono service, says
Horton. Even though a managing partner works long hours, Sandman
managed to devote blocks of time to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center's
Landlord Tenant Resource Center. Horton, who had been in charge
of the firm's pro bono work, would send emails to colleagues, saying,
"Jim Sandman has too much to do. He's running this law firm, and yesterday
he was down at the court for four hours helping poor people who don't
have a lawyer. If Jim can find the time, so
can you."

"Job one is to make sure
no one graduates from
law school without
understanding the reality
of our justice system today."

In particular, Horton says, Sandman cared about the younger associates
at the firm. For instance, if Arnold & Porter colleagues were stuck in D.C.
for Christmas, they were invited to the Sandmans' home for dinner.

30 WASHINGTON LAWYER

accused Sandman of misconduct. Sandman was shocked. He called the
opposing counsel and said that if he was ever in that position, he would
call him and see if they could resolve the issue between themselves. Only
if they couldn't do that would he go to the judge. The opposing counsel
apologized and withdrew the complaint.

Eventually, though, Sandman tired of
corporate law and the direction it was
taking. "I came to feel as if I were devoting
myself to making rich people richer, and I'm
not talking about clients; I'm talking about
my colleagues," Sandman says.

He was at the 2007 annual pro bono breakfast of the Washington Lawyers' Committee
for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs when
Michelle Rhee, the new chancellor of DCPS,
spoke. She gave an "electrifying speech"
without notes and "conveyed a sense of
optimism and energy and can-do attitude," Sandman recalls. At the end
of her speech, Rhee said she was looking for a good general counsel.
"Right there on the spot, I thought: That's it," Sandman says. He had been
looking for a new adventure. "I took a chance and it turned out to be one
of the best things I've ever done in my life." In fact, he believes it was the
"best lawyering" he ever did, a job that only ended when Mayor Adrian
Fenty was not reelected and Rhee left D.C.
Sandman's next career move, leading the LSC, brought another reaction
from Horton. "I called him and said, 'I take back what I said about the
school job. Now you really have taken the toughest legal job in America,'"
Horton says, laughing.
Sandman's stint at that "toughest job" lasted nine years, far longer than
any other president of the LSC. His tenure was marked by changes that
included a larger emphasis on the ways that data can underscore gaps
in justice in the United States, a focus on how technology can help the
underserved achieve better access to legal representation, and wider
outreach to the community at large.
Much of that came from Sandman's influence, says current LSC President
Ron Flagg. Sandman has "a unique ability to communicate his passion for
holding America to its promise of equal justice under the law," Flagg says.
The LSC published the 2017 Justice Gap Report, which documented that in
2016, 86 percent of the civil legal problems of low-income Americans
received either "inadequate" or no legal help at all. The report, says Flagg,
received significant attention from both the legal aid community and the
press.



Washington Lawyer - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - June 2020

YOUR VOICE
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
ON FURTHER REVIEW
THE LEARNING CURVE
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - YOUR VOICE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE LEARNING CURVE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 48
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover4
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